By rotating its menus daily, weekly, and according to seasonal harvests, the chefs at Andies Restaurant ensure only the freshest ingredients to create their light, healthy, Mediterranean?style cuisine. In addition to menu mainstays such as gyros and greek salads, the Zagat-rated restaurant features vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free offerings such as eggplant and couscous dishes that was featured on Check Please!. Each year, the owners and their staff roll up their sleeves to plant fresh tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in their garden next to flavor-augmenting herbs and singing carrot puppets. Outdoor seating facilitates sunny summertime meals, and an indoor fireplace keeps the intimate dining room cozy and warm in the winter months.
The Moroccan tapestries and dangling lanterns in Marrakech Cuisine's dining area lend almost as much northern African flavor as the cumin, coriander, dried ginger, saffron, and paprika blended in the kitchen. These bold yet balanced spices helped earn the eatery a spot on CBS Chicago's 2010 list of the best Moroccan food in Chicago, where it was lauded as "a must visit Chicago restaurant." The menu highlights several of the country's culinary specialties, including earthenware tajines of stewed tilapia, chicken, or vegetables and house-made merguez sausages that the Chicago Reader calls "delectable." Although the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, it does allow patrons to bring a bottle of wine or a flask of barrel-aged Capri Sun from home.
Andalous’s brigade of women chefs cooks hearty Northern African fare that has regularly garnered recognition in print and television media. Sprung from the traditions of French and Arabic cuisine, Moroccan dishes permeate heaps of sautéed vegetables with liberal pinches of saffron or swaddle succulent chicken in dainty phyllo dough. The establishment’s BYOB policy, like a preschooler’s dinner party, encourages guests to bring their own bottles to complement meals. As an intoxicating mélange of spices swirls in the air, diners can punctuate evenings with a soothing pot of mint tea or a sweet signature pastry.
Marrakesh indulges taste buds with exotic, authentically Moroccan flavors, mixed with a smattering of Mediterranean and other European flourishes. Feel free to discuss any item on the menu, such as the oven-baked chicken Marrakesh, served with Moroccan olives and tangy lemons ($13.95), with the friendly, culinary-savvy staff. Appetizers start with the traditional harira soup ($5.95), a hearty tomato-lentil base with chick peas and saffron, and diners craving the flavors of northern Africa can inaugurate their meals with hot mint tea and regional pastries ($5.95). Cleanse your esophagus with a potent glass of vino from Marrakesh’s extensive wine list or bring in your own bottle of wine ($7 corkage fee) and toast to getting promoted at the electric shovel factory.
Pumpkin-hued walls adorned with North African artifacts and silk curtains draped from the ceiling surround diners at Shokran Moroccan Restaurant, where wooden chairs or ornate couches provide seating as eaters dig into savory dishes steeped in Moroccan spices. Vegetarian, beef, and chicken appetizers quiet hunger pangs by giving stomachs a wealth of delectable flavors and a stern talking to, and entrees such as couscous, kebabs, and tagine in the form of lamb marrakech entertain taste buds. In addition to handcrafted Moroccan morsels, live music and belly dancing often entrance customers at the BYOB hotspot.
The Moorish monarchs of Granada built a legendary palace and fortress known as Calat Alhambra, both to fortify their hold on Southern Spain and serve as center of art and culture. The palace, which has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries, captured the imagination of Chicagoan Dr. Nasar Rustom. He made many trips to the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Spain to obtain artifacts to fill his own recreation of Alhambra Palace, one that serves as a testament to the culture and cuisine of the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Rustom recruited artisans from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco design the interior of his new restaurant. The team built custom gilded doorways, hand-painted tiles, carved the furniture, and created the mosaics found around the multi-level dining room. Rustom went to equal lengths when creating an the menu, full of authentic flavors of kabobs, paella, and seasoned lamb. On top of the food and decor, Dr. Rustom added live entertainment, which includes international music, Latin, Swing, and belly dancing, and even dance lessons sure to charm a date or a stern loan officer .